Twenty six art teacher candidates at the University of British Columbia were given a copy of Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing and encouraged to write in the margins, draw on the pages and create any kind of handmade revision to the text. The book chronicles the unorthodox opinions of Scottish educator Alexander Sutherland Neill on topics ranging from needlework to nudity. The assembly of these modified pages culminated in a revised edition of the book, produced as an edition of 40. This work was produced through an artist-residency, supported by the ‘Becoming Pedagogical’ research project. This project was co-developed and designed with Helen Reed.
The research team included: Rita Irwin, Donal O Donoghue, Stephanie Springgay, Adrienne Boulton-Funke, Natalie LeBlanc, Heidi May and Valerie Triggs.
The students we worked with were: Anna Ryoo, Stanna Cermakova, Claire Williams, Esther Shoop, Gillian Smith, Heather Toomer, Jamie Smith, Jessica Millikan, Joanna Jedrzejcyk, Jonathan Lorne, Judy Leung, Julia Lim, Kay Pham, Kt Zydek, Landon Shantz, Linda Chen, Linna Song, Lyndsey Gantert, Mark Mitchell, Mehran Modarres, Peter Shin, Roxanne Ganon, Safi Arnold, Shanaaz Mackay, Shirley Chan and Zac Pinette.
Related events and exhibitions:
Summerhill, Revised, Access Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2011.
Related Reviews and Publications:
Summerhill, Revised. Special Edition. Vancouver: independently published, 2010-2011.
Springgay, Stephanie. ‘Summerhill, Revised: Learning in/as Marginalia.’ C Magazine, Spring 2011.
Summerhill, Revised is the culmination of work completed by Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed in collaboration with art teacher education candidates and the A/r/tography research collective during a three-week residency in the Teacher Education Program at the University of British Columbia.
The project employed 26 copies of A.S. Neill’s controversial text Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, which chronicles the unorthodox opinions of Scottish educator Alexander Sutherland Neill on topics ranging from needlework to nudity. Reed and Jickling took this book as a guide for various modes of learning; it became a conversation starter, a scholarly manual, a readymade sculpture and a fieldtrip guide.
A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School (founded in 1921, and still running) operates similarly to many art education programs today, where self-directed and intrinsically-motivated pupils choose their own research topics and modes of expression. Summerhill’s doctrine of individualism, free will and self-regulation is in many ways analogous to perceptions of the contemporary artist figure and emerging ideals of self-directed art education.
Each teacher candidate was given a copy of Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing and encouraged to write in the margins, draw on the pages and create any kind of handmade revision to the text. It is the assembly of these modified pages and the recollection of the conversations and experiences of the experiment that form Summerhill, Revised.
This exhibition was produced through support from the Becoming Pedagogical SSHRC funded research project, whose aim is to study how A/r/tography might be uniquely situated to enact, develop and problematize becoming pedagogical in a teacher education program.